Ron DeSantis encourages outdoor activity

jogging outdoor exercise
Get some fresh air, but keep your distance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants people to go outside and exercise while keeping their distances from each other, as part of efforts to slowly reopen the state.

DeSantis, who will look to recommendations from a task force on reopening businesses, schools and facilities shut down by the novel coronavirus, said the risk of transmission is “much more” minimal for people who are outdoors and not in large groups.

“I think that to be able to get people out in the sunshine and be able to get some fresh air, I’ve always promoted essential activities with recreation,” DeSantis said while in Fort Lauderdale at the opening of a coronavirus testing site. “You just got to do it in a way that’s going to have low risk. If you go run in your neighborhood by yourself, if you’re not coming into contact with anyone, it’s very low risk.”

Earlier in the week, DeSantis expressed concerns about a lack of physical activity by people on stay-at-home orders.

DeSantis, who was expected to name members of the task force Friday, said Southeast Florida may have a slower revival than other parts of the state, as the largest concentration of coronavirus cases have been in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. His comments came as Duval County opened beaches with restrictions Friday.

The task force is expected to follow a similar effort at the White House, where President Donald Trump issued a three-phase reopening plan on Thursday.

DeSantis, who has left rules for beaches up to local governments, expects Florida to use the Trump plan as a “baseline.”

“It doesn’t mean that Florida is going to do every single thing they say or not say,” DeSantis said. “But that is a pretty good baseline. So, you look at different things. What does the workforce look like? Some of these businesses, letting people get back to work. I think that that is something that is very, very important.”

Trump’s guidelines for a phased reopening leave much of the decision-making to governors.

Phase one would allow restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, sports venues and places of worship to operate with physical distancing in place. Elective surgeries would also be allowed.

The second phase would seek to reopen schools and reactivate youth activities, along with bars that operate with diminished standing-room occupancy.

The final phase would resume all worksites, including visits to senior care facilities and hospitals.

The president’s proposal requires the availability of increased testing and a trending down of the number of coronavirus cases before stay-at-home orders and other restrictions are lifted.

“We do need to get to a next phase,” DeSantis said. “Maybe Southeast Florida looks a little different than the rest of the state. And I think that that would make sense.”

Duval County beaches were being reopened Friday for certain recreational activities under an order issued by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Curry said in a prepared statement.

The order allows people to walk, bike, hike, fish, run, swim, surf and take care of pets, so long as they maintain physical distancing guidelines, with the beaches open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

People aren’t allowed to sunbathe or bring towels, blankets, chairs, coolers and grills. No organized group activities, from picnics to sporting events, are allowed.

City golf courses have also been reopened for normal hours, with the same physical distancing guidelines.

News Service Of Florida

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  • HappyHunting

    April 17, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    To some, this will sound like Gov. DeSantis has gone mad, and wants people to die. In reality, people who sit home for weeks and months, without getting adequate exercise and fresh air, are more prone to immunity and health problems, than those who do exercise regularly and get fresh air.

    So, doing the exercise while still keeping your distance from anyone else, is a good idea and the doctors I have spoken to, totally agree with this idea.

    I will wait to see how the media make this into a dangerous plan, and fault the Governor, as they are bent to do.

  • Palmer Tom

    April 18, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Some of the closures of conservation areas where congregations are not an issue did go over the top. I’ve had to stay out of areas covering thousands of acres that may attract no more than half a dozen people at any time and usually fewer than that. Some of the early over-protective closures should end. Other closures will probably continue to make sense. Some of the closures may have been misreported. I was in Ocala National Forest recently. The forest roads were open. The only thing closed were rec areas with facilities that could encourage congregation, which made sense.

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